News Festive forties

IT was Christmas, visitors to Kent Life’s festive crowd-puller agreed, but not as they knewit. Therewere no PS4 or iPhone Xs

among the presents, no shopping centres, and no TV repeats. But then, organiserspointedout,

therewas awar on. “Christmas on theHome Front –

WWII Experience” ran for two days in November at the heritage farmpark in Sandling, offering the “sights, sounds and smells” of the festive season in the 1940s. Among the attractions were

make do and mend lessons, drill displays by theHomeGuard, ape- riod school lesson, shops fromthe era, and a rehabilitation centre for injured RAF pilots.

Hospice run

HEART ofKentHospice is recruit- ing athletes for the Maidstone Road Run 2019. The event, scheduled forMarch

10, will have three routes – a half marathon, 10k and 5k fun run – around Boughton Monchelsea, Linton, and surrounding villages. Fordetails,

events/detail/maidstone-road-run- 2019.

Puppy Buzz in training for life-saving duties

AT just one year old, Buzz the cocker spaniel is officially the county’s youngest fire crew trainee. The playful nipper, recruited

into Kent’s elite Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) unit, has been kit- ted out with a working-at-height safety harness, flotation vest, and protective boots. And colleagues at Maidstone

Fire Station in Loose Road have even given him a climate-con- trolledvan,withaK9 call-sign, and photographic identity badge. But while animal lovers across

the borough will be cooing at the sight of the puppy, Tovil-based Kent Fire and Rescue Service bosses point out that he isdestined for serious life-saving. Hewill be trained to hunt down

casualties trapped in wreckage, collapsed buildings and confined spaces, both in theUKandabroad. Handler, USAR technical rescue technician Andy Parks, pictured

here with Buzz, said: “Buzz has plenty of energy and a very good temperament. His playful and in- quisitive qualitiesprovide the ideal foundation for learning. He loves his ball which is his reward when he doeswhat is asked of him. “We are working on honing his

searchcompetencies, adding indif- ferent distractions and environ- ments, and he is showing much

promise for the future. “Buzz can now respond to a

range of signals. “The next step is to get him to

focus on specific tasks, in the face ofmultiple distractions, and to fol- low visual instructions to prepare himfor working in noisy, and po- tentially chaotic places.” Andy and Buzz have already

visited counterparts in Scotland to train for at-height emergencies, and Essex to acclimatise to boat transfers. Buzz has also spent time with

the county’s canine cops at the Kent Police dog unit, for familiari- sation and socialisation exercises. When not on shift, dog and han-

dler live togetherwith Buzz’s two- year-oldbrotherMax, andBramble a 13-year-old springer spaniel. A spokesman for KFRS said:

“Providing he continues to re- spond so well to training, Buzz is expected to graduate by autumn 2019.”

Whitehead Monckton are moving to new premises from 19 November 2018

A significant development and the start of a new chapter for

Whitehead Monckton in our 235 year history

Call Maidstone 01622 698000 or visit our website at e.

Whitehead Monckton Limited (no. 08366029), registered in England & Wales. Registered office 5 Eclipse Park, Sittingbourne Road, Maidstone, Kent ME14 3EN. Authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority under no. 608279. 6 Maidstone January 2019 WTSS/17

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